Corporate Pseudo-Science, Edward Bernays and the 2017 March for Science
Propaganda: “a message designed to persuade its intended audience to think and behave in a certain manner. Thus advertising is commercial propaganda. Or institutionalized and systematic spreading of information and/or disinformation, usually to promote a narrow political or religious (or commercial) viewpoint.” — from http://www.businessdictionary.com/
Mercenary: ”a person primary concerned with making money at the expense of ethics.”
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, and our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of…It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.” — Edward L. Bernays, the Father of Propaganda in America and Sigmund Freud’s nephew, from his seminal book Propaganda (1928).
“Entire populations, which were undisciplined or lacking in intellectual or definite moral principles, were vulnerable to unconscious influence and thus susceptible to wanting things that they do not need. This is achieved by manipulating desires on an unconscious level.” – Edward Bernays, From the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (March 1947)
I recently heard a talk given by the author of a book whose theme was “the war on science”. The author happened to be on the national steering committee that helped to organize last weekend’s March for Science. The author was not a scientist, but he appeared to be fairly well read about some of the issues about which I was also concerned, such as global warming, resource depletion, pollution, over-population and other highly probable environmental catastrophes.
We were on the same page in opposing the Trump administration’s proposals to de-fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and regulatory agencies such as the EPA. We also both opposed the Trump administration’s threats to cut funding for pro-science initiatives such as dealing with the remaining un-remediated SuperFund pollution sites that have been created by reckless and unregulated corporations, municipalities and the American military. (NOTE: Pentagon Inc is the biggest polluter on the planet.)
However, during the speech, I was disappointed to hear the author boldly state as fact a widely-propagated media, medical and pharmaceutical industry myth that falsely claims that vaccines (presumably including the 270 new experimental ones that are in Big Pharma’s pipeline) are totally safe and efficacious (when they are injected into the muscle tissue of tiny, even premature infants whose blood-brain barriers and immune systems are not yet developed enough to keep out the mercury, aluminum and live viruses).
Obviously, unbeknownst to this non-scientist author, his statement revealed that he was ignorant or otherwise unaware of the voluminous body of documented, peer-reviewed and unbiased neuroscientific evidence that refutes the oft-repeated claim – or perhaps it just revealed the success of the indoctrination process that he and so many others, including far too many health journalists, had heard again and again. One only needs to recall Goebbels dictum: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it as truth.”
(For that evidence that refutes the lie about vaccine safety, go to:
The Fluoridation of America’s Water Supplies
The author also disappointed me when he repeated the American Dental Association-propagated (and fluoride industry) myth that the widespread fluoridation of municipal water supplies with the hazardous waste by-product of the fertilizer industry (fluoride) has no downsides (implying that fluoride supplementation is totally safe for the bodies and brains of children, notwithstanding the documented proof that the ingestion of that neurotoxic mineral can cause lowered IQ levels, hypothyroidism and brain damage, as well as fluorosis of bones and teeth.
The statement also ignored the fact that the fertilizer industry’s waste products contain an variable combination of fluorosilicic acid, sodium fluorosilicate and sodium fluoride, in addition to untested-for-contaminants like arsenic. It is important to note that fluoridation of water supplies is banned in most municipalities in Europe (on the basis of good, unbiased science), with no evidence of any increase in the incidence of dental caries in those non-fluoridated communities. (Explore www.fluoridealert.org for much more – and also read the warning on the next tube of fluoridated Crest toothpaste that you can find on the grocery store shelf.)
Edward Bernays, the Father of American Propaganda
Edward Bernays is considered the Father of American Propaganda. His writings on propaganda inspired Nazi Party leader Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment to be really good at his job. One of Bernay’s most influential corporate “accomplishments” occurred in the mid- to late-1940s, when he was hired by ALCOA (the Aluminum Company of America) to orchestrate a public relations campaign to convince political leaders and the public that it would be good if ALCOA’s highly toxic by-product (fluoride salts) were added to the nation’s drinking water supplies under the guise of preventing tooth decay in children. (Google “Edward Bernays, the Father of American Propaganda” and “A Chronology of Forced Fluoridation in America” for more.)
Bernays’ propaganda campaign worked like a charm, with many state legislatures (including my state of Minnesota) passing laws that compelled reluctant municipalities to fluoridate their water supplies with the waste product that had up until then been responsible for so much poisoned air, water, soil, food, vegetation, livestock and other living things surrounding ALCOA’s aluminum smelting plants.
The aluminum industry, with the help of the American Dental Association (which is still in denial about the serious neurotoxicity of the mercury in its dental “amalgam” fillings), was enabled to sell its otherwise unmarketable and poisonous by-product – and they made a profit to boot! Win-win-lose.
Bernays’ and ALCOA’s fluoride caper was just another example of how cunning mercenary lobbyists that work for sociopathic corporations can convince non-scientist legislators to do their bidding, especially if the politicians also accept campaign contributions from those often criminal enterprises! (It should be noted, by the way, that, in recent years, most of the highly caustic fluoride powder that is purchased by American municipalities like Duluth comes from the toxic smokestacks of the phosphate fertilizer industry [rather than from the aluminum industry] and that the handlers of the fluoride powder need to wear hazmat suits.)
It is obvious to any close observer of what industry calls “science” is that there are at least two types of science:
1) the biased, Big Business kind of science that hires well-trained scientists to perform the necessary research in order to develop products that will make money for the company and its investors, and
2) the unbiased kind of science that is in it for altruistic reasons – with scientists that work for the advancement of pure knowledge, the advancement of society and the creation of a more humane and prosperous world for everybody – hoping, of course, to make a decent living at the same time.
The first kind of science – the one that has been dominant in American society for far too long – must be regarded with extreme suspicion, for it hires scientists that are expected do the will of the corporation’s non-scientist management and marketing teams that may be serial liars and manipulators of statistics. Far too often – because of the intense competition, corporations find themselves unable to afford following ethical principles other than the so-called “business ethics” (an oxymoron) that they may have learned in the business administration course they once took in school.
Mercenaries, Whether Scientists or Soldiers, Can’t be Trusted to do the Honorable Thing
This type of corrupted corporate science that has been involved in the defense industries has always employed large numbers of mercenary scientists and other workers that have produced the most lethal weapons in the history of the world. It was clever German chemists that invented chlorine and mustard gas weapons of mass destruction in World War I, weapons that were rapidly replicated by Allied scientists on the other side of No Man’s Land – and then gleefully used.
It was physicists, mathematicians, chemists and assorted scientists that invented the infamous uranium and plutonium weapons of mass destruction that incinerated and mutilated hundreds of thousands of mostly innocent women and children in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in a war that was could have ended weeks earlier with negotiations.
And I recall reading that over half (perhaps 75%) of all American scientists during the Reagan years were employed by the nuclear weapons industries designing and building massive numbers of nuclear weapons of mass destruction, with the accumulation of 4 trillion dollars of national debt that is still unpaid and still paying massive amounts of interest to corporate and wealthy bond holders who are thankful for the war readiness agendas.
And it was very smart scientists that invented the homicidal and suicidal weapons of mass destruction called Agent Orange (thanks to DOW Chemical and Monsanto). And mercenary scientists invented the ecocidal and neurotoxic CFCs (thanks to General Motors and DuPont), carcinogenic herbicides like Round-up (thanks to Monsanto, DOW, BASF, Bayer, Syngenta, etc) all of which are longer-lasting in the environment that the serial liars in those industries are willing to admit.
That type of corrupted corporate science (as in Big Finance, Big Mining, Big Oil, Big Chemistry, Big Weapons, etc) has started wars in order to find cheap labor and extract valuable minerals and non-renewable resources from the earth and under the oceans, thus permanently scarring and polluting vast amounts of land and sea.
The Corrupted Science of Big Pharma
In my opinion, one of the most destructive examples of corrupted corporate science, is the multinational pharmaceutical industry that I call Big Pharma. That conglomeration of corporations produces inherently unsafe vaccines and addictive, potentially lethal and brain-altering/brain-destroying psychiatric drugs – and then has the hubris to claim that these drugs and vaccines are safe. Each and every one of their products is unaffordable and bankrupting to the families or systems that pay for them.
Full disclosure of the risks of prescription drugs is never done prior to the patient’s consenting to take the drug. It would take too much time for the prescriber to do what is required. And the only obligation for the corporations supplying the chemical is not to do what is best for the patient-consumers of the product, but to make money for their corporation and its investors.
That type of commercialized science is always at risk of being corrupted by unethical motivations that place profits ahead of patients, and so they let their covey of lawyers defend the drug deaths and disabilities in court, expecting to receive a wrist slap – rather than the death penalty – as the usual penalty for the use of their “unavoidably unsafe” products.
In our highly competitive, let the buyer beware, crony capitalist system, truth-telling about the dangers of a corporation’s products is regarded as something only losers do. And any scientist with a conscience – the potential whistle-blowing insider – need not apply for employment.
That type of corrupted science in Big Pharma is rampant in America, Britain, Australia, Canada and the European Union as well – wherever capitalism is unopposed by ethical regulatory agencies or social democratic leanings. Big Pharma has the big money to lavishly fund, design and manage its experimental studies, and it maintains tight control over those studies. Too often its scientists are asked to fudge the statistics so that the results will convince the FDA to grant approval for marketing the end-product.
As would be expected whenever billions of dollars of potential profits are involved and the lure of another block-buster drug is in view, bribery and other unethical activities politics inevitably happen.
The Way it Used to Be – or So I Thought
Back in the day when I was an idealistic medical student, we students believed in the sanctity of pure science and ethical medicine and doing what is best for the patient. We followed the Hippocratic Oath. Medicine, to us, was the type of honorable science that looked for the truth, no matter where the evidence led. Free debate about health issues was allowed and encouraged. We students were naïve enough to think that our professors were also idealists and not influenced by the Big Business of medicine. Of course we had no idea about what was going on behind the scenes, but I doubt that any of our professors were multimillionaires that were in bed with corporations.
But even then, there was the specter of Big Pharma influence on us lowly students. We were being groomed to be good prescription writers. Eli Lilly and other Big Pharma corporations gave us occasional free lunches, reflex hammers, stethoscopes and fake alligator leather doctor’s bags. Merck gave us Merck Manuals. Ciba-Geigy provided us with monographs of Frank Netter’s anatomic drawings. We got used to collecting the little corporate trinkets like pens, pizzas and post-it notes at the drug rep visits and medical conferences that we were invited to attend.
And, like all cunning public relations strategies, no obvious demands were made on us at the time, but we got the fuzzy feeling that Big Pharma was a friend that would, just like us idealists, first do no harm. And perhaps it was so back in those seemingly more innocent times, before there were so many toxic prescription drugs out there that made billionaires of pharmaceutical company CEOs and millionaires of academic physicians.
I suspect that other science-minded students of my era were also going into physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, etc wanted to just do honest science. Most of us had no intention of becoming millionaires. We thought that science was supposed to be fair and unbiased but we didn’t appreciate the greed of the sociopathic pharmaceutical, medical insurance, medical device, medical communications, healthcare providers and other medical corporations that now rule the world.
The March for Science
Following the above-noted speech that I began this column talking about, I checked out the website of the March for Science organization that the speaker was involved in and found – after a lot of searching – a list of advisory board members. In that list were representatives of a number of corporations, including some giant multinational pharmaceutical corporations such as Pfizer, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline, the latter two being major makers of vaccines that – since 1986 – have been totally immune from lawsuits when their inherently neurotoxic vaccines kill or sicken babies, children or adults.
So I was somewhat ambivalent about participating in the March on Science last Saturday, not knowing if there would be a significant presence from the purveyors of the type of fraudulent science such as Big Pharma.
According to the media reports that I have seen about the event, big corporations seem to have exerted no undue influence on the march, although there may have been some covert muting of potentially embarrassing exposures of Big Pharma’s nefarious agenda.
But there remain cunning, corrupted corporate science foxes in the pure science henhouse.
Dr Kohls is a retired physician from Duluth, MN, USA. He writes a weekly column for the Duluth Reader, the area’s alternative newsweekly magazine. His columns deal with the dangers of American fascism, corporatism, militarism, racism, malnutrition, Big Pharma’s psychiatric drugging and over-vaccination regimens, and other movements that threaten the environment, prosperity, democracy, civility and the health and longevity of the planet and the populace. To consult his writings click here.